My name is Matt Wilson, and I'm under fairly significant debt pressure. Not from credit cards, or car payments or mortgages. No, my debts are academic in nature — I owe close to $54,000 in student loans.
In 2007, I attended an expensive private school in an attempt to receive a Bachelor of Science in software development.
Two years later, after a major curriculum change that prevented me from being able to learn effectively, I dropped out.
Now, these loans weigh constantly on my mind.
It's hard to ignore $54,000 — especially when Sallie Mae sends me almost monthly reminders.
Yet at the same time, it's hard to think about them. I'm 22. I don't have an undergraduate degree. Thanks to the recent troubles in the economy, I haven't been able to find full-time employment.
How am I supposed to even consider paying back $54,000?
Unfortunately, the best answer I've found is to just ignore them as best I can.
The way student loans are set up, combined with difficulties finding employment and community college fee waivers, have made it easier to become a professional student of sorts instead of finding ways to begin repayment.
The simple truth is that as long as I remain in school, I don't have to pay these loans back.
I can stay right where I am, and scrape by on part-time jobs while taking a few classes.
Am I proud of it? No. Do I wish I could find a job that would allow me to begin repayment, or possibly go to another four-year university and finish my degree? Absolutely.
But it's difficult. Without some equivalent of a full-time job, I can't really begin to pay back my loans. Since I can't pay back my loans, I stay in community college so I don't have to begin repayment. And since I remain a student, it's difficult to find a full-time job.
And that's exactly the way the past few years have played out for me. As much as I would love to finish my degree, it's hard to justify adding even more debt to the pile. So I just continue on as I have been — frozen in place by my student loans, trapped in an infinite loop.